Volunteer Sexually Assaulted Seven Orphans

     OKLAHOMA CITY (CN) – A federal jury Friday convicted an Oklahoma man of sexually assaulting seven Kenyan orphans he was volunteering to help.
     Matthew Lane Durham, 20, of Edmond, was convicted of seven counts of engaging in illicit sexual conduct.
     Durham testified last week that he had an “inner demon” who comes out at night and whispers to him to do things to children.
     The jury, which deliberated for nine hours, found him not guilty of eight counts of aggravated sexual abuse of a child, one count of travel with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct, and one count of engaging in illicit sexual conduct in foreign places. Durham showed no visible emotion when the verdict was read.
     He remains in custody and faces up to 30 years in federal prison on each count.
     During the seven-day trial, prosecutors said Durham volunteered at the Upendo Children’s Home in Juja, Kenya. The orphanage provides food, housing, clothes, school and religion to neglected children. They said the crimes took place between April 30 and June 17, 2014.
     “This is not a verdict to celebrate,” U.S. Attorney Sanford C. Coats said.
     “Yes, justice was sought and obtained for the victims of this abominable crime. However, even a guilty verdict cannot bring back the innocence of the children that was taken by Mr. Durham,” he said. “Their lives will never be the same, and we can all merely hope and pray that this verdict will someday give them some comfort and peace. The bottom line is that Mr. Durham is a threat to children and it will be our position that he should be extricated from society for a significant period of time. We protect children, no matter where they are from.”
     Durham testified on his own behalf Wednesday, admitting he has struggled with temptations to touch children and other men. But he steadfastly denied the assaults and claimed he was innocent.
     He testified he was threatened to confess because there were eyewitnesses and recorded proof, but said neither was ever presented to him. He said he was not allowed to return home unless he confessed.
     Durham testified that he has an “inner demon” or “spirit” named Luke, who comes out at night and whispers in his ear things to do to children.
     “What if the demon wanted me to do mission work to be around children?” Durham asked.

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